Painting Between the Machine and the Hand

Lydia Dona, “Levels in Momentum” (2012), oil, acrylic, metallic and sign paint on canvas, 84 x 64 inches

For part of May 2023, Lydia Dona’s abstract art could be seen in three separate New York exhibitions, each of which offered a different perspective on what she has been up to since 2008, 30 years after she moved to New York in the late 1970s from Jerusalem and began making a name for herself. Although Dona had her first solo show in New York in 1979, she did not begin exhibiting regularly until the mid-1980s, when the art world’s attention was dominated by Neo-Expressionism and Neo-Geo, and many artists were playing out the end of Modernism.

From the mid-’80s until the early ’90s, Dona exhibited often in New York, but her shows became more sporadic after that, and her work never became branded, like that of others of her generation, such as Peter Halley. With her three May exhibitions, including a group show, Schema: World as Diagram at Marlborough Gallery, curated by Raphael Rubinstein and Heather Bause Rubinstein, I had the opportunity to get a fresh perspective on a well-known artist of the 1980s.

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